Erakovic should be pleased with Open draw

Last updated 17:47 11/01/2013

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Marina Erakovic should feel pleased, but not delighted with the draw for the Australian Open.

She has been matched up against France's Alize Cornet in the first round and if she wins that match she's likely to play Venus Williams next.

Erakovic has played Cornet once before, at the ASC Classic in 2010 where she lost in straight sets.

However, that was at a time when Erakovic was struggling to find form because of a hip injury and was languishing at 233 in the rankings.

She is now at 67, while Cornet is 40, so everything points to it being a close match. However, if Erakovic plays to the level she was at for the first half of last year then it could be a comfortable win for her.

Erakovic's possible problem though is that her time at tournaments in Auckland and Sydney the past two weeks were her first events since being injured at the US Open last September.

Williams plays Galina Voskoboeva from Kazakhstan in her first round match and if she goes on to play Erakovic it is likely to be a rare appearance one of the two big courts for the New Zealander.

When Erakovic played Williams in Miami in 2008 she was badly beaten 6-2 6-1, but the elder of the Williams sisters' career has been in serious decline and she failed to get past the second round at any Grand Slam last year.

For what it's worth, if Erakovic gets past Williams her next opponent is likely to be Maria Sharapova. Erakovic will again team up with Heather Watson from Guernsey in the doubles.

Internationally, the big news is that Novak Djokovic has come out on the right side of the draw and has avoided a potential semifinal showdown against Andy Murray or Roger Federer.

Instead with Scot and Swiss player are on course to meet in one semifinal, while Djokovic could find himself playing David Ferrer in the other.

A first round clash that looks destined to be the prime time evening match on Rod Laver Arena on Monday or Tuesday is Lleyton Hewitt against rising Canadian star Milos Raonic.

Hewitt beat Raonic in the third round last year but their careers are going in different trajectories these days as the former Wimbledon and US Open champions is in the last moments of his career.

A player who no doubt everyone wanted to avoid in the first round, Gael Monfils, has been drawn against 18th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov from Ukraine.

Monfils may have struggled physically in his 6-1 6-2 loss to David Ferrer in the Heineken Open yesterday, but he believes he'll be in good shape in Melbourne.

"I haven't played much and practiced and today was a bit too much for me," Monfils said.

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"I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will play on Tuesday because it will give me more days to recover.

"In Australia it's different, you have a day off between matches so this will help me."

- Stuff

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